Science: Daddy Darwin

Few scientists have been more tender, sympathetic parents than Charles Darwin, father of ten. But Darwin was a scientist first, a father afterward. From the moment his first child, William Erasmus ("Doddy"), was born, 100 years ago, the eager Revolutionist began to take notes on his infants' wailing, coughing, drooling, kicking, stretching, winking, frowning, screaming. "With a fine degree of paternal fervor," Darwin tickled the naked soles of his babies' feet with paper, "tried to look savage" to provoke tears. Purpose of his baby-baiting was to determine whether the instinctive reactions of childhood were similar to the gestures of lower animals.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!